The day has come…

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3-16-13 Oliver7I knew this day would come, and I knew it was going to be difficult. Oliver just turned 18 months, and what with everything swirling around here of late, we kind of dropped the ball when it comes to getting him “fixed”. A few months back, I discussed the pros and cons – according to a layman like me – to having this operation completed, so if it’s all right with you my loyal readers, this time around I’d rather not re-visit why it’s a barbaric and unnecessary procedure. Let’s just accept that it’s going to happen and move on – thanks for understanding.

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We’re getting Oliver fixed on Wednesday morning. Though sad about actually doing it – I don’t want to put my baby through any unnecessary discomfort – we’re doing it for the following reasons… it is convenient, and besides, when we purchased him from the breeder we signed a contract saying that we would. There are a similar amount of health-related concerns on either side of getting this procedure completed at an early or later stage, but most importantly, I believe that by giving Oliver the 18 months that we did to grow into his body he was able to take full advantage of the natural hormonal development over that time… he has derived more benefit from NOT being snipped at an early age and denied of so many natural body chemicals – he has grown into a healthy, happy and incredibly stable young dog. He’ll also get micro-chipped in case he hates us for it and decides to run away 😉

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I don’t want Oliver to breed unnecessarily, and although in all likelihood he would never get the chance to roam free and do anything unexpected… you just never know. Better safe than sorry in that regard, and as a family we’re all for responsible pet owning.

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Here’s the convenience piece… we’re realizing that over the next few weeks and months we are going to need to temporarily house our little friend for a day or two here and there… maybe even an overnight stay. Doctor visits and other commitments are starting to fill the calendar, and although to date we have been able to work around every circumstance, the day is coming when an extended event will definitely mean needing to board Oliver.

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We have an awesome boarding kennel lined up, but they are understandably reluctant to have dogs – even if all males – co-habitate if some are fixed, while others aren’t. There’s a significant chance that our little currently un-fixed guy will be the one trying to “hump” other dogs – and while that’s perfectly natural behavior – apparently it can make for a more heightened and less tranquil atmosphere within the group, and we wouldn’t want that to happen.

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And besides, one of the things we’re especially hoping to get from the boarding experience is a positive social interaction for Oliver. His demeanor is such that he just wants to play… with anyone, anytime, anywhere. He’s a happy dog who will get along with all others… perfectly. However, if he’s humping (and there’s no guarantee fixing will prevent that), then the possibility of a mellow co-existence within his fellow boarders might become a little unbalanced, and if the alternative is some form of isolation for the humper… well, then that’s not what we want.

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Anyhoo… Wednesday is the big day. We’ve cleared the decks so that we’ll be here to care for him after the event and give all the love he needs. We’ll make sure he gets as much peace and quiet, medicine, and of course, love, so that he can make as full a recovery as soon as possible. I have no doubt that Oliver will once again amaze and be the model patient, but it still makes me sad that we have to put him through this process. Wish him luck 😉

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The Band Perry

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Waterfront Concerts and the brand spanking new Cross Insurance Center brought The Band Perry to Bangor this week. I still can’t believe we can see performers like this just about a mile from our house in little old Bangor, Maine. This was the opening date on The Band Perry’s first headline tour, and boy were they polished and ready for primetime. Anyone expecting a laid-back, country music group from Tennessee would have been seriously disappointed… this family trio absolutely rocked the house. I’m no concert reviewer – I’ll leave that to others more qualified – but I know what I like when it comes to entertainment, and I liked this show immensely. Jack, Lori and I were just a couple of rows from the front, and our proximity to the stage allowed us to swim in the band’s energy from start to finish. Excellent show!

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Experimenting

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12-30-13 oliver14I usually only carry a 70-200mm lens when I take my “real” camera to the golf course to make photographs of Oliver as he plays, and I like the reach it provides for my fast moving friend. The longer focal length is a significant departure from the wide angle approach I usually take when shooting landscapes, and it provides ample opportunity to practice and experiment with a different perspective. The sun had already gone down for the day, and although there was still some warmth on the horizon, the snowy fairway was engulfed in the blue hues of the reflected darkening sky. The longer lens compressed the scene considerably, and I had some fun experimenting with a variety of compositions. Here’s one I liked.

A snowy abstract…

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12-30-13 oliver15So far, we’ve been getting our fair share of snow this winter. The temperatures have dipped down pretty low too, making it a little challenging to spend any kind of quality time outside. New Year’s Eve brought us a cozy – and record low temperature of – minus 13 degrees F (that’s -25 C!), so it’s fair to say that it’s been chilly around these parts lately. After a fun walk to the golf course with Oliver, I spotted this little scene while making our way home. The sun had already dipped below the horizon, and almost reluctantly, I pulled my frozen fingers out of what were warm and toasty mittens to shoot the cool shadowy blue of this snow bank contrasting against the sunset sky. I used a long-ish lens (70-200mm) and a large aperture to isolate just the elements needed, and although a rather simple and abstract composition, I kinda like it. Oh yeah… and this one makes for a “cool” (pun intended) iPhone home screen.

Like glass…

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12-30-13 oliver16We still haven’t managed to lose any of the recent accumulations of ice received during the holiday ice storm. Instead of warming up, the temperatures have taken a dive for the worse, and that means the landscape is still covered in a glaze of ice. At any other time of the year, this little tree isn’t something I would even think of photographing, but with a coating of glass, it glistens magnificently in whatever kind of light we have. Returning from a walk with Oliver, I was intrigued by the beautiful colors in the sunset sky and grabbed the quick photograph posted above. Several days apart, below is the same tree in very different light…

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A foot of new snow…

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…so away we went to the local golf course. Oliver loves the snow, and he also loves being off leash. We recently spent a few days visiting Granny and Grandpa in Northampton, MA, and although I’m sure there are places we could have let him run, we aren’t too familiar with the area just yet, so it had been about a week since he ran free like this. A foot of fresh powder overnight meant some serious digging out this morning, but it also made for a perfect winter playground – and needless to say, Oliver made the best of his opportunity. I like to think he’s genuinely smiling in the photograph above, and even if he’s not, I KNOW he had himself a blast! Happy New Year!

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Ice

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So, we had ourselves a little ice storm here in Maine. It’s amazing how much trouble a half an inch or so of ice can cause, and although this storm wasn’t on the same scale as the one in 1998, its impact was still felt pretty hard all across the region. The actual event of ice falling isn’t what creates all of the havoc, but rather it’s the ice accumulating on tree branches and then being frozen in place as a coating of glass. Tree limbs are heavily bowed – and in many cases broken – with the added weight, and if electrical wires happened to be in the vicinity, well there’s a good chance they came down too. We were some of the lucky ones. Other than a few intermittent outages, our power has stayed on. Many people were not as fortunate though, and I can’t imagine what kind of holiday they had. The cold temperatures have hung around for the past week, and without a noticeable warm up, the ice is still laying heavy on the landscape. We’re bracing ourselves for another 6-10 inches of snow this evening, with more ice, sleet and freezing rain mixed in for good measure. Although it makes for a winter-wonderland landscape, I’m about ready for some of those balmy mid-thirty degree, ice-melting temperatures. And yes… that’s a very happy dog in the last photograph – he’s exploring along the edge of the woods where all the good smells are 🙂

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